Willis Gordon is a lifelong public servant, community organizer, author, essayist, and veteran of the War on Terror. Gordon is committed to the direct approach to progress and the improvement of our communities through action, innovation, and inclusion.
In a growing career that began in 2004, he has worked on countless campaigns. He produced the “Rock the Block” voter registration concert in 2016 and continues to register voters and fight for civil rights across Ohio. When many voters were purged from the registration rolls, Gordon personally re-registered hundreds of Stark County voters across 2019 and early 2020. Willis was instrumental in the adoption of landmark police reform in the city of Canton in 2020. Mediating negotiations between the protesters and the police department and fighting on behalf of the people to ensure Canton was one of the first 8 cities in America to be fully compliant with “8 Can’t Wait” as well as banning the hiring of officers with a record of misconduct.
In 2023, he sought his party’s nomination for Mayor of Canton on a platform of common sense reform, public transportation, affordable childcare, and public safety.
He currently serves on the Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee, The Ohio Democratic Party Veteran’s Committee, the Stark Library Foundation Board, and the Plain Local Alumni Board.
He is currently serving a second term as the Veteran’s Affairs Chairman of the Ohio NAACP, where he worked with Senator Sherrod Brown to keep the Chillicothe VA Hospital open, keeping the heart of the community beating, and ensuring many veterans kept the healthcare they have earned. He is currently combating repressive voter laws that negatively affect active-duty service-members.
He is the author of two books, as well as the syndicated column “The Road Forward.” A firm optimist, Gordon believes love is not just tender, but tough, and the only way the arc of history bends towards justice is through the hard work of ordinary people.